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Une famille Anglaise

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  179 ratings  ·  36 reviews
"A young man with shock-red hair tears through the snowbound streets of Warrington's toughest housing estate. He is Robbie Fitzgerald, and he is running for his life - and that of his young family. In his heart, Robbie knows the odds are stacked against them. In this unbending northern town, he has married the beautiful brown nurse who once stitched up his wounds. Susheela ...more
395 pages
Published 2011 by Flammarion (first published March 6th 2008)
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Eat your heart out, Philip Hensher. This "state of England" novel, covering much of the same period as The Northern Clemency, blows it out of the water. It tells the story of a disintegrating mixed-race family, Irish musician Robbie Fitzgerald, his Malaysian wife Susheela, and their two children, Vincent and Ellie, through the 1970s and up to 1989. It starts with the brutal racism of a rough estate in Warrington, and moves on to the more discreet racism of a genteel suburb where Susheela tries d ...more
Feb 26, 2010 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: library-book
When I first picked this book up, I didn't realise it was based in Warrington which is where I live. I have read Brass by Helen Walsh when it first came out and I really enjoyed and have read it several times since. When I opened the book and came across "Orford, Warrington" which is exactly the place I grew up I became half excited and half apprehensive. Just like I thought, she painted Orford to be a horrible place that's full of danger and somewhere you wouldn't walk about in the daytime neve ...more
Eva Mitnick
This is one of those books where you just want to shake several, or perhaps all, of the characters. "Be more honest to him!" "Be kinder to her!" "Talk to each other!" But no, the relationship between Irish singer and factory worker Robbie and his Malaysian wife Susheela (Sheila) is doomed after a brutal assault on Susheela (the details of which she doesn't share) prevents her from making love with or expressing love for Robbie. Its effects echo down the years and reverberate in the couple's chil ...more
Hyvä kirja pitkästä aikaa. Pidin kielestä ja tarinasta. Ja Vincentistä!
This book was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. I suggest you read it.
One of my favorite books of all time. A very harsh intro, but a great story.
Vanessa Filley
I good read. Very engaging, beautifully written, but predictable.
This would translate so well into a film, hope someone does it.
Ian Mapp
I read Brass by Helen Walsh a long time ago. Super book, and then stupidly, I forgot about the author until I read a review of the "Lemon Grove" last year.

Decided that I needed to pick up with her back catalogue and see how she fared.

She destroyed the difficult 2nd book syndrome - this, is a classic.

State of the Nation book, telling a time period (1970s to late 80s) through the eyes of a mixed race family.... Irish Musician - Robbie Fitzgerald, his asian wife, Sushela and their two kids - who p
Once upon a time in England is a story about racism and the acceptance of differences within the british society in the 70s and 80s. The whole story is about a family living in Warrington in the north of England. All family members are different from the "normal" person living in the british society at that point in time. Robbie, the father, is a musician who cannot read and who works in a factory to feed his family. Sheila, his wife, is originally from Kuala Lumpur but immigrated to Britain be ...more
Krenna Edmonds
All you 80's lovers read this book. It touched me on so many levels. Ms Walsh must have thought up the ending to this one before the beginning and I was kind of prepared for it... but I never saw (really hard to say this without being a spoiler) that last verse coming. Just an incredibly well-thought out piece of writing. Absolutely loved it!!
Horribly depressing throughout. Some scenes were completely unnecessary as they seemed to shock more than move the plot along (and we get no resolution to the scene. What are the consequences of that character's actions?). There are some really brilliant moments, but they are too few and far between. Great writer, just not my style.
A mixed race family growing up in the 1980s. Sound a bit like Sadie Smith and White Teeth? I can't help thinking that's exactly what this particular author felt - so she deliberately goes for something harsher, more violent, more unremittingly bleak.

The problem is that Sadie's been here before. If you want to go on this turf, you better be prepared to live up to comparisons and in this case, I am sorry to say, the book fails. The characters are so well drawn, the sad little ends they all seem to
a good book, but not memorable. i don't really love stories about a couple hopelessly in love that can't communicate...and then you watch their relationship unravel. if it was a movie, you'd want to scream at the screen, "just talk to each other, dammit!" and it would solve their problems.

i did like the unique perspective of what it was like culturally to be pakistani in england at a time when racism is so open and dangerously violent - it's not something i'm familar with and walsh does an excel
seanat (elka)
Many comparisons have been made with White Teeth, which I remember fondly as having strong flawed characters and lots of humour. This however didn't, it's grim yes I don't mind grim but it was relentless, the characters never spoke to eachother so there was never any resolution , everyone's addicted to something and in the end it just left me sad and uncomfortable that the racist thugs had seemed to win.

However it was very readable, I did finish and shed a small tear at the end but not enough up
On the coldest night of 1975, a young man with shock-red hair tears though the snowbound streets of Warrington's toughest housing estate. He is Robbie Fitzgerald, and he is running for his life - and that of his young family. In his heart, Robbie knows the odds are stacked against them. In this unbending Northern town, he has married the beautiful brown nurse who once stitched up his wounds. Susheela is his Tamil Princess, but in the real world, the Fitzgeralds have to face up to prejudice, pove ...more
Cindy VW
Récit-fleuve très puissant, très fort aussi, portrait d'ne Angleterre en pleine mutation, avec ses injustices et ses inégalités.
Matti Karjalainen
Helen Walshin "Englantilainen tragedia" (Like, 2009) kertoo englantilais-pakistanilaisen perheen vaiheista 1970-luvun alkupuolelta 1980-luvun loppuun. Mukaan on mahdutettu niin rasismia, avio-ongelmia, huumeita kuin muitakin vaikeita aiheita, jotka oikeuttavat kirjan nimen.

Walshin romaanin lukee ihan suuremmitta ongelmitta ja henkilöhahmoista oppii välittämään - eritoten perheen vanhin lapsi Vincent kasvaa sivumäärän lisääntyessä Hahmoksi isolla H:lla - mutta siitä huolimatta kirjasta jää kuiten
Lesley Hughes
Hard-hitting, uncomfortable, heart-breaking read.
Hannah Wingfield
Complex, well-written novel with believable, multi-faceted characters that addresses issues of race, class, family breakdown, industrial decline & much more in 1970s/80s Northern England.

Click here to read my full review, on my book blog.
Another of the mid-seventies, how-bad-was-England stories that I just don't relate to. My co-organizer loves these types of stories (his suggestion) as he remembers growing up in this era. I suggest you have that context before you bother reading it.
I liked first book but this one was
a disappointment. The description of the difficulties faced by a mixed-race working-class family in
the 1970's uses cardboard characters who are all either very good or very bad, but in all cases
rather stupid. It also contains scenes that horrified me.
Not quite what I was expecting based on the title, but good nonetheless. Very tragic and sad in a lot of ways, and the characters are very human, making plenty of obvious yet understandable mistakes. Does a really excellent job at describing the winding path it takes to get from a hopeful, loving family to a broken and dying one.
Steamed through this in a couple of days, compelling and very believable. Captures prejudice well without being overly worthy. And a few places in Blackpool and Manchester that I can remember from back then. But overall, very well-written and keeps your interest throughout.
this is quite a grim novel detailing the story of the fitzgerald family growing up in 1970/80's warrington and facing racism and detailing their hard life from the start when the parents met a mixed race marriage and how the dreams webbed away , well worth reading
Dec 17, 2007 Andrea rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a poignant family drama. It starts with a brutal rape, and just goes downhill from there.

This will not be published until March 2008, and you really must read it. I'm not ashamed to say I cried at the end.
this book may be good, but I won't know, because it was so depressing that I had to put it down, it was giving me anxiety. I am new to not finishing books, but my time is now too precious!
This is not the type of book I usually read but I was gripped by the story of this unlucky family. They kept secrets which stopped them from understanding each other. Good read.
Engrossing, but horribly depressing and upsetting. I was a wreck after reading it. Sad, sad story.
Just finished Once Upon a Time in England for my book club. Tragic story but well written.
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HELEN WALSH was born in Warrington in 1977 and moved to Barcelona at the age of sixteen. Working as a fixer in the red light district, she saved enough money to put herself through language school. Burnt out and broke, she returned to England a year later and now works with socially excluded teenagers in North Liverpool. Brass is her first novel.
More about Helen Walsh...
The Lemon Grove Brass Go to Sleep Tok, Book 1: Diaspora Dialogues Tok: Writing the New Toronto, Book 6

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